Real Madrid coach says Vinicius Jr. didn't want to continue playing in game after racist chants

Vinicius Junior was subjected to racist abuse in a Spanish league game yet again on Sunday with Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti saying he considered replacing the Brazil forward.

Winger has been subjected to racist abuse since he came to play in Spain 5 years ago

A soccer player is seen besides his team's head coach, who has one arm around the player and speaks to him.
Valencia fans appeared to chant "monkey" at Vinicius Junior, seen interacting with his coach Carlo Ancelotti, after Madrid's game at Mestalla Stadium had been temporarily stopped. (Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Vinicius Junior was subjected to racist abuse yet again on Sunday with the Brazil star saying the Spanish league "now belongs to racists."

The latest abuse against Vinicius came in Real Madrid's 1-0 loss at Valencia, a match that had to be temporarily stopped after the Brazil forward said he was insulted by a fan behind one of the goals at Mestalla Stadium.

"It wasn't the first time, or the second or the third. Racism is normal in LaLiga. The competition thinks it's normal, as does the federation, and the opponents encourage it," Vinicius said on Instagram and Twitter. "The league that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Lionel] Messi now belongs to racists ... But I'm strong and I will fight until the end against the racists. Even if far from here."

The 22-year-old Vinicius, who is is Black, has been subjected to racist abuse since he came to play in Spain five years ago.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti considered replacing Vinicius after he said fans at Mestalla chanted "monkey" toward the star. He said Vinicius initially didn't want to continue playing.

"What happened today shouldn't happen," Ancelotti said. "When a stadium yells `monkey' to a player, and the coach considers taking him out of the field because of that, it means that there is something bad in this league."

'The game should have been stopped'

The veteran coach refused to talk about the game after what happened, saying his team's loss meant nothing.

"The game should have been stopped," Ancelotti said. "This shouldn't happen. It wasn't only one person, as it has happened in several stadiums. Here, it was a stadium racially insulting a player, the game had to stop. I would have said the same thing if it was 3-0 for us. You have to stop the game, there was no way around it."

Ancelotti said he told the referee to stop the match, but was told that the protocol was to first make an announcement to fans, then take other action if the problem continued.

Ancelotti said Vinicius didn't want to keep playing but he told the player that he wasn't guilty of anything and that he was the victim. Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said he would have left the field with Vinicius if the Brazilian had decided to stop playing.

According to Spanish media reports, Valencia have identified two fans who allegedly insulted Vinicius behind one of the goals.

Some comments on social media claimed fans were saying the Spanish word "tonto" (silly) instead of "mono" (monkey).

Vinicius was later sent off after an altercation with Valencia players, and gestured to home fans about their team's fight against relegation as he left the field. Valencia took a huge step toward avoiding the drop with the 1-0 victory opening a five-point gap to the bottom three teams entering the final three rounds.

"The reward for the racists was my ejection!" Vinicius said on Instagram, along with the Spanish league's slogan "It's not soccer, it's La Liga."

Vinicius had called the referee around the 70th minute and started pointing to a person sitting among the Valencia supporters. The player went near the stands and confronted the fans while players from both teams tried to restore calm.

Police eventually arrived in the stands to deal with the supporters. An announcement was made asking fans to behave.

Vinicius ejected

The match at Mestalla was stopped for about seven minutes, and not long after it resumed Vinicius clashed with Valencia players and was sent off for pushing one of his opponents away with a hand to his face.

After the decision of his ejection was made following a video review, Vinicius started applauding ironically. As he was leaving the field, he made a "going down" gesture over relegation. That upset players on the Valencia bench and some charged toward Vinicius as he left the field, causing the game to be temporarily stopped again.

Valencia coach Ruben Baraja condemned the behaviour of Valencia fans but also criticized Vinicius, saying he should have respected the club and its supporters.

Vinicius' teammate Dani Ceballos criticized the fans but said he also expected Vinicius to apologize for his gestures after being sent off.

Ancelotti said Vinicius' reaction was normal considering what he had gone through moments earlier.

The Spanish league said it has requested images from the game to investigate what happened. It will also probe possible insults against Vinicius outside Mestalla.

The league has made nine formal complaints over racist abuse against Vinicius over the last two seasons, with many of the cases being shelved. A Mallorca fan may end up going on trial after allegedly racially insulting the Brazilian during a game.

The first trial against a fan accused of racial abuse in Spanish professional soccer is expected to happen at some point this year in a case involving Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams, who was insulted by an Espanyol supporter in a match in 2020.

Brazil's president supports Vinicius

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has joined soccer clubs and players in coming out to support Vinicius.

Lula told a news conference in Japan on the sidelines of a G7 meeting that he hopes FIFA, the Spanish League and other soccer bodies "take measures so we don't allow racism and fascism to take over" in the sport.

"It is not fair that a poor boy who is winning in his life, becoming one of the best in the world, certainly the best at Real Madrid, is insulted in every stadium he goes to," Lula said. Several of his cabinet ministers also backed Vinicius and were critical of the Spanish league.

Brazil's Human Rights Minister Silvio Almeida, who is Black, said on Twitter: "The behaviour of Spanish authorities and of the entities that govern its soccer is criminal."

"It shows undeniable acceptance of racism," Almeida said. "[Vinicius] I will be on your side to hold those that attack you accountable, but also those who omit themselves."

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes used expletives on Twitter to insult Spanish league president Javier Tebas, who criticized Vinicius following the incident for his comments on the lack of action of the sport's national authorities every time he is racially abused during matches.

"You want to blame the victim, you idiot?" Paes posted.

Ednaldo Rodrigues, the first Black president of the Brazilian soccer confederation, said he is troubled by the lack of action in Spain after another racist incident against Vinicius.

"Until when will we have to see episodes like the one we just witnessed, yet again in La Liga?" Rodrigues said. "Until when will we have to fight for concrete and efficient measures on and off the pitch? There is no joy where there is racism."

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